State senator pens letter to Syrian president

In this photo released by the Syrian official news agency SANA, Syrian President Bashar Assad, center, speaks during his meeting with dignitaries from Damascus countryside, in Damascus, Syria, Wednesday, May 7, 2014. Hundreds of Syrian rebels left their last remaining bastions in the heart of the central city of Homs under a cease fire deal with government forces, opposition activists and the city's governor said. (AP Photo/SANA)

WASHINGTON (AP) — A Virginia state senator has sent a letter praising Syrian President Bashar Assad.

The Washington Post reports the two-page letter dated April 1 from Virginia state Sen. Richard Black was posted on the Syrian president’s Facebook page Sunday. In it, Black also praises the Syrian army for fighting against forces Black writes “are dominated by our arch-enemy al-Qaeda.”

Black’s letter comes in the midst of Syria’s three-year civil war. President Barack Obama in 2011 called on Assad to step down and has supported rebels seeking to oust Assad in the civil war that activists say has killed more than 140,000 people.

Black, a Republican from Loudoun County, served in the state house from 1998 to 2006. He has been a member of the state senate since 2012.

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